By Daisy Finch
Warm temperatures and crowded beaches filled with hundreds of visitors and locals enjoying one of the busiest weekends as Lake Havasu City plays host on an annual basis: Memorial Day.
Anyone who walks through Rotary Park or along the Bridgewater Channel couldn’t miss the stars and stripes that wave proudly from boats and the cleverly coordinated outfits that scream red, white, and blue.
Patriotism and parties take over the city and people come from all around to enjoy the first festivities of summer. The lake is a prime escape from the heat and a home to fun for all, the evidence being easy-ups and barbeques lining the shores. Each has their own idea of what Memorial Day means to them.
Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971, and since then, has been observed with celebratory and patriotic flair.
Scott and Jeanette Smith, of San Diego, Calif., enjoy coming to Lake Havasu during this time of year to see family.
Jeanette Smith said, “The three-day weekend gives us a chance to be with family that we haven’t had a chance to be with in a long time.”
The Smiths agree, however, that the number one reason for celebrating this holiday is in remembrance of those who serve.
“(Memorial Day) means celebrating the individuals that spent a lot of their time giving us this,” Scott Smith said as he gestured to the surrounding Rotary Park and beachfront. “We can enjoy this.”
Georgia (last name unknown), a visitor from Oregon, agrees and said, “You have to remember that our veterans have served for us. You have to be respectful.”
Local Darthy Hunter responded in the same fashion when asked what Memorial Day means to her, that being “memory of the fallen soldiers.”
On this three-day weekend, it is not uncommon to see groups laying out blankets, with coolers and snacks not too far away, happy to have found a shady spot in the grass or on the sand, and little ones pointing toward the playground or the water, ready to play.
This was exactly the scene near the Tinnell Memorial Sports Park with Mary McClure, fiance of James Tinnell Jr., father of Patrick Tinnell.
An American soldier and local BMX rider, Pat Tinnell was killed while in service in Iraq in 2006. The local skatepark was built in his honor, to keep his love of riding and memory alive.
McClure wanted to be close to the park with her family, and succeeded in finding a nice spot in the shade. She mentioned how every so often, James and her come to Rotary to walk around.
“His father likes to come specifically to see the kids using the skateboard park. It’s very, very important to him and we usually come at least once or twice a month and just sit and watch the kids at the park,” McClure said.
With her ties to the Tinnell family, Memorial Day has personal meaning for McClure, as it does for families nationwide.
“It’s a chance to remember all of our soldiers; the ones that have fallen and the ones that have served and come home. It’s just to remember,” Havasu local Mackenzie (last name unknown) reflected.
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